I have a problem with the joists in my house. I have had several contractors in for estimates to fix the problem. There are estimates go from 3.5K to over 10K. They seem to have different views on what should be done. For more information about my problem, you can look here: Link

Nearly all the contractors tell me that they normally do not get building permits for this type of work. Is that a red flag that they do sub-standard work?

Should I hire a PE to get unbiased advice?

  • Is this just for that one joist or did you find many more with problems? Not all cracks are a problem or a concern. For just that one joist you are being ripped off big time, 350$ would be on the high side.
    – crip659
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 20:24
  • What exactly were you asking them to do work-wise? Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 20:32
  • your question is asking for an opinion ... that is not allowed here
    – jsotola
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 20:36
  • Also, the questions in your post are likely to get the question closed as off-topic because the answers to both are likely just opinions. If you want a definitive answer to what work should be done and how, an engineer coming on-site and inspecting would be able to provide that. The building permit is a legal question and you'd need to look up the local requirements for permits. Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 20:37
  • 1
    Couple of notes from a working carpenter: no, my firm wouldn’t get a permit for a repair like this unless the AHJ was known to require it (and we do exceptionally good work), and a PE isn’t unbiased, strictly speaking: they are generally biased to an extremely substantial (perhaps overkill) solution. Their recommendations will be good — don’t get me wrong — but probably more expensive than something adequate. Commented Oct 22, 2022 at 12:51

2 Answers 2


Just be adamant that you want the work done with a permit. That will entail having to get an engineer to sign off on any plans. It may be expensive, but if you think it's more than just cosmetic damage then a contractor that's experienced with structural work should have a good working relationship with an engineer and be able to, at the very least, get their opinion on how to proceed.


Good contractors work without permits all the time. Terrible ones do as well.

For that job, I'd skip the permit.

If you don't skip the permit the building inspector could easily force a PE to approve a repair unless you are fully sistering the joist and if you are going the structural engineer / permit path the cost is going to be more than fully sistering the joist. Timeline and cost are also sure to be higher with the repair / permit / engineer.

Given the comfort level you express in your question, you should just get someone to fully replace the joist.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.